Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Tampa General chief off to strong start

Jim Burkhart is off to a strong start at Tampa General Hospital. In less than a year as president and chief executive, Burkhart has underscored the hospital's mission to the poor; strengthened ties to the University of South Florida, its main academic partner; and carved a new business vision that promises to make the region a healthier and more dynamic place to live. This is good news for an institution that is a lifeline for so many and an economic driver for the entire region.

Burkhart has wasted no time in learning about the area and finding a direction for TGH since arriving in March. He has affirmed the hospital's historic mission as a safety net provider, sketched an ambitious vision for expanding primary care, and created a framework for building new clinical and specialty care facilities aimed at improving health care across a wide swath of Florida.

Balancing the need to grow the business while providing charity care and serving as USF's main teaching hospital is not easy in the evolving health care market. Burkhart's experience at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, another nonprofit affiliated with the University of Florida, gives him a sensitivity for these dueling challenges. He speaks carefully about building on the hospital's 3 percent operating margin, mindful that Tampa General is a nonprofit community provider. And he has calmed area concerns by making clear that the hospital and USF are long-term partners, breaking through an impasse to sign a new three-year medical education affiliation agreement that automatically renews.

Burkhart is also adding detail to the new partnership Tampa General announced with Florida Hospital, part of the Orlando-based Adventist network that operates locally in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Tampa General will not abandon its local mission but will team up on new specialty care facilities. Burkhart also wants to make services more accessible by incorporating some outpatient care under a "big box" facility west of downtown.

Burkhart understands Tampa General's strengths and the strong connection the region has to what U.S. News and World Report named last year as Florida's best hospital. The role he sees in providing charity care, an academic environment and specialized services — from organ transplants to burn care — will build the hospital's reputation for excellence. Burkhart has also stepped comfortably into his role as a leading voice for safety net hospitals in Florida, arguing for the state to accept federal money to expand health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. His vision of creating a delivery system to make the community healthier is the right priority for Tampa General. And it promises to strengthen the ties of the hospital in the political and civic fabric of Tampa Bay.

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Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

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Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
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A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

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Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

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Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

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The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18